For the second time this season, the Lions lost in heartbreaking fashion, surrendering a long, last-second field goal to lose the game.
Detroit (0-5) suffered the second such defeat on Sunday, giving up a 54-yard field goal to Vikings kicker Greg Joseph on the final play of the game to lose 19-17:
Lions coach Dan Campbell was clearly emotional discussing the loss after the game, calling it tough but saying his team would come out better because of the hardship:
“When you see your players give all that they have, and you lose that way, it’s tough,” Campbell said through tears. “You know, you don’t want that for them. But we’ll be better for it. And there again, credit Minnesota. But we made the one mistake that cost us, you know? And so, ultimately, you know we didn’t do enough to win. But I was proud of them. And I love the fight they have in them. And I love the grit.”
The loss was particularly painful for the Lions, considering they overcame deficits of 13-3 in the second quarter and 16-6 in the fourth. The defense did its part, limiting the Vikings to three second-half punts, an interception, missed field goal and fumble recovery at the 2-minute warning.
Lions running back D’Andre Swift brought the score to 16-15 with just 37 seconds remaining in the game when Campbell elected to go for the win with a 2-point conversion attempt; Jared Goff completed the pass to KhaDarel Hodge, giving Detroit the 17-15 lead and setting the team up for its first win of the season.
But Vikings quarterback hit receiver Adam Thielen twice on the final drive of the game — the latter’s first two catches of the game — for 21 and 19 yards, helping put the Vikings into field goal range.
The Lions suffered a similarly devastating defeat in Week 3, when Ravens kicker Justin Tucker set an NFL record with a 66-yard field goal to beat the Lions 19-17. The play also followed an obvious delay of game penalty that should have knocked Baltimore out of field goal range.
Unfortunately for Detroit, officials missed the call and set the Lions up for the first of two devastating losses at the hands of kickers. But all may not be lost: The Lions return to action in Week 6 against the Bengals, whose kicker Evan McPherson missed two field goals in overtime in a 25-22 loss to the Packers.
Whatever it takes for the Lions to get on the board.